Damien Williams was Oklahoma's leading rusher through its first three games, but remained Dominique Whaley's backup — officially, at least.
That changed Saturday, when he started OU's 41-20 win at Texas Tech and was the Sooners' go-to guy out of the backfield from the very first series.
“It felt great, just knowing that I'm gonna be that guy,” Williams said. “They're putting more carries on me and letting me do more with the ball.
“They told me last minute, ‘You're gonna be the guy. Be prepared to do your assignments.'”
Williams carried the ball 14 times for 48 yards, but he made a bigger impact in the Sooners' passing game — catching six passes for 82 yards, including a long of 38 yards.
Whaley's only two carries came back-to-back in the second quarter; the second was for 18 yards and moved the Sooners to Tech's 1-yard line.
On the next play, backup quarterback Blake Bell entered the game scored to give OU a 14-10 lead. The Sooners didn't trail again after that.
That Williams' first start came in Lubbock is interesting because it was almost his home; the junior-college transfer from Arizona Western took his college decision all the way to signing day last February, and the final two schools he chose from Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
“I'm with the team that I'm with, and I'm happy to be with my team,” Williams said of the game between his final two college choices. “It didn't really matter.”
NEAL, BESTER MAKE GRABS; METOYER HELD WITHOUT ONE
Trey Metoyer, the true freshman receiver expected to be an instant superstar, continued the slow start to his Oklahoma career Saturday, making no catches in Lubbock.
On OU's first drive, Metoyer dropped a sure 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Landry Jones.
Two plays later, Jones found senior Penn State transfer Justin Brown for a touchdown, his first as a Sooner.
Two first-year Sooners made their first career catches Saturday. True freshman Durron Neal caught two passes — both on the same second-quarter drive — for 38 yards, including a 25-yard grab.
Junior Lacoltan Bester, who transferred to OU from East Mississippi Community College, also made his first career grab, a 10-yarder midway through the third quarter.
SHANNON, FRANKLIN, WILSON SEE INCREASED TIME
Oklahoma began Saturday's game in a dime package, with six defensive backs and just one linebacker.
It was a set the Sooners stayed in for much of the game, with sophomore Julian Wilson playing in the sixth defensive back spot and the linebacker frequently rotated between Tom Wort, Corey Nelson, Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin.
Shannon and Wilson each finished with six tackles, which was tied with Nelson and Aaron Colvin for the team high.
Shannon also sacked Tech quarterback Seth Doege for a 10-yard loss.
“Frank had a heck of a game,” said coach Bob Stoops. “Julian Wilson played a ton. He did well.
“All of those guys came in and did a nice job. The guys up front I thought got excellent pressure overall.”
KASITATI, MCFARLAND INJURED
Near the end of the first quarter, senior defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland intercepted a pass, but then fumbled it back to Tech on the Red Raiders' 4-yard line.
McFarland left the game with an apparent ankle injury and didn't return, although he stayed in uniform and on the sideline the rest of the game.
After the game, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said he wasn't sure of McFarland's status, but the senior was seen slightly limping toward the team bus.
“I guess he twisted his ankle,” Mike Stoops said. “I don't know ... his status.”
Also, redshirt freshman reserve guard/center Nila Kasitati hurt his knee in the second half and didn't return.
He was later seen on the sideline with ice on his knee, and was walking with crutches after the game.
MIKE STOOPS EXCITED TO RETURN TO COTTON BOWL
Mike Stoops, in his first season back as Oklahoma's defensive coordinator, is excited to head back to the Cotton Bowl next weekend for the Red River Rivalry.
“It's a special game,” Mike Stoops said. “This is what you come to Oklahoma for. It's Oklahoma-Texas, and (Saturday's win) gives us a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence going down there. That's good for us.”
Mike Stoops spent five seasons in Norman, leaving after the 2003 Big 12 title game to take Arizona's head coaching position, a job he held until being fired midway through the 2011 season.
TECH'S REIGN ATOP NATION'S DEFENSES IS SHORT
After Texas Tech's win last week at Iowa State, the Red Raiders were ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense and passing defense, and No. 5 in scoring defense.
It's safe to say the Red Raiders will fall in those rankings after Saturday's loss to Oklahoma, in which the Tech defense surrendered 34 points — not counting Javon Harris' third-quarter interception return for a touchdown — and 259 passing yards.
Entering Saturday's game, Tech opponents were averaging 10.8 points, 82 passing yards and 167.5 total yards per game.
Jones' two touchdown passes Saturday increased his career total to 100, tying him for 13th all-time with former Marshall QB Chad Pennington. He also became one of three players in Big 12 history — and one of 23 in NCAA history — to have 100 career touchdown passes and 13,000 career passing yards. ... Tress Way booted a 71-yard punt in the first quarter into the wind, which is his season long and ties for the third-longest in his career. ... The game's 60,800 fans in attendance set a Jones AT&T Stadium record. The previous record of 60,454 was set in 2010 against both Texas and Oklahoma State.